You know, it’s often said that the measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members. That goes for our furry friends too, of course. A story unfolded in Lenexa, Kansas, that really got me thinking about our responsibilities as pet owners and as human beings in general.
I remember once, in my days as a veterinarian, a case of a Golden Retriever who had gotten his paw caught in a trap. The owners were beside themselves with worry and sprung into action immediately. They rushed him to me, and together we were able to give that dog another chance to run and play. The owners’ swift actions saved the day, but what if they had chosen to do nothing? I shudder to think what could have happened.
In this recent incident in Kansas, a woman was at a lake, throwing a tennis ball onto the frozen surface for her dog to fetch. As you might guess, the ice was not thick enough to support the dog’s weight, and he plunged into the frigid waters below.
Now, you’d expect that any caring owner would be filled with urgency, rushing to save their struggling pet, just like those owners of the Golden Retriever I treated years ago. But that wasn’t the case here. The woman did nothing; she remained seated on a bench, telling onlookers that the dog was fine, even when it was clear that he was struggling for his life.
As the seconds ticked away, a stranger couldn’t bear to watch the dog suffer any longer. This Good Samaritan plunged into the icy waters, wading and crawling to reach the desperate animal. With tremendous effort, he broke the ice surrounding the dog, creating a makeshift path back to solid ground.
As he did so, three other kind souls braved the cold to assist, ensuring both man and dog reached safety. The crowd erupted in cheers and applause, but the woman remained seated, still doing nothing.
The actions of those strangers brought to mind another saying: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” In that moment, they showed us all what it means to be human, to extend our care and compassion not just to those we know, but also to those in desperate need. It was a lesson in the power of taking action, of not waiting for someone else to make the first move.
I share this story not to shame, but to remind us all of the collective responsibility we have, especially towards animals who depend on us for their well-being. Next time you see an animal in need, don’t hesitate. A stitch in time really does save nine—or in this case, one very lucky dog.
If this story touched your heart as it did mine, please share it with others. Let’s spread the message of kindness and responsibility, and if you can, consider supporting animal welfare organizations in your local community.